Yo El Rey means "I, the King", and was inspired by a young Pablo Picasso who signed an early self-portrait with this tagline. It's become a mantra that has propelled this wild idea to make and produce wine, and it is a romantic reminder to always believe in both oneself and one's dreams.
The idea for making wine in South Africa was inspired by time spent in California in 2016 working harvest, where many winemakers don't own their own vineyards, but rather buy fruit from farmers and produce their wines in shared cellar spaces. The first bottling of Yo El Rey happened in 2018, and was a mere 1700 bottles of a Syrah & Grenache Noir blend. Today. we produce over 7000 bottles of wine, across four different cuvées made from fruit sourced from around the Cape.
Off the back of importing these wines into the U.K., Yo El Rey & Friends was created as a small but focused portfolio of South African producers that are now also imported and distributed to the wider U.K. trade. These are all independent producers who make authentic wines that represent the next generation of South African winemakers.